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105-year-old Manteca Winery now open for guided tours
The old Manteca Winery now has the correct spelling of pioneer Achille Baccileris last name on the north side of the building. Old museum pictures of the winery show the name spelled as Bacilieri. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

One of Manteca’s oldest buildings is coming back to life.

The A. Baccileri Manteca Winery brick building built in 1905 on Oak Street just west of South Main Street will open its doors on Saturday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for a tour inside the 105-year-old historic site. Among the guests will be members of the Manteca Historical Society’s docents-in-training class. The old Manteca Winery is one of the historic sites that the would-be museum docents will be touring that day as part of their training, said Tim Valentine who purchased the building in March.

The winery is one of about half a dozen buildings that made up the old Celpril facility. Valentine bought the entire Celpril compound which now houses his Valentine Construction and Engineering Company.

Saturday’s event will mark the opening of the old winery for public tours and other small events, said Valentine who describes the building as an “old icon of the San Joaquin Valley.”

In addition to the tour and open house, there will be music by Debbie Long as well as barbecue-smoked beef, pork and chicken sandwiches and sodas.

“I have been sending out invitations but it’s open to everyone,” Valentine said.

Since March, Valentine has been investing time and effort to restore the Manteca Winery to its old glory. The old brick walls were painted over with a dull off-white color when he bought the business property. That has been painted over to its brick color today. Valentine also restored the name of the winery on the side of the building facing the railroad tracks. He used the old pictures of the winery at the historical museum as a guide, except for one thing. In the old photographs of the winery, the Manteca pioneer businessman’s last name is spelled Bacilieri. The name on the restored building that was put up by Valentine reads Baccileri.

Valentine said he did his research at the museum and talked to area residents, such as Ken Hafer, who are knowledgeable about the history of the winery and the Baccileri family as to the correct spelling of the name.

“I found in books and other documents the proper spelling of his name. And Ken Hafer assured me that I do have the correct spelling of the name (of Achille Baccileri),” Valentine said.

He decided to go by the correct spelling when he installed the new letters on the side of the building facing the railroad tracks and the Manteca Bikepath “which is appropriate,” Valentine said.

“I don’t know the mystery behind (the misspelled name) but I’ll look into it. And if I cannot unravel the mystery, then I will create my own mystery around it,” he said with a laugh.

The restoration of the building to its original glory is still an ongoing process. For the two round holes in the center of the building both front and back, Valentine has commissioned an artisan at All About Glass in Manteca to create a colorful stained glass accent. He already has a rendering of that design, said Valentine.

So far, he is quite pleased with what he has accomplished with the building and the property.

“As it stands now, I believe that the building stands out above all the rest when you come down the historic trail here along the (railroad) tracks. It’s a beautiful piece. It really stands out; it’s quite magnificent,” he said.

When he first moved into the old Celpril compound that he purchased in March, the old winery building “was far gone. The mortar is sand; it was so bad. I decided the best thing I could do is to make it back to what it was. So we put a lot of effort into it and it’s beautiful. I believe we’re ready to show it off,” Valentine said.

Due to fire code ordinances, the building is limited to no more than 30 people at one time.

“I’ve done all I can afford to do at this point,” he said, adding the facility is “officially set for private parties and tours by appointment” to the public.

For more information about Saturday’s guided tour of the old Winery or for other appointments, call Valentine Construction’s main office at (209) 825-6900 or (209) 602-3901.